The Korean national soccer team is seeking its first championship in 64 years at the 2023 Asian Football Confederation Qatar Asian Cup. Attention is focusing on whether the team will be able to dispel its 64-year slump, dubbed the “curse of fake gold medals.”
The first Asian Cup in which Korean soccer players participated was held in Hong Kong in 1956, three years after the end of the Korean War. At that time, the Korea Football Association was poor in all aspects, including finances, as it had only three employees. If the players got injured during the game, the opposing medical team came and treated them. Still, the players showed excellent performance. Choi Jeong-min, dubbed the “golden bridge of Asia,” Ham Heung-cheol, Cha Tae-seong, Son Myung-seop, Kim Ji-sung, Woo Sang-kwon, and Sung Nak-woon were also on display.
Taiwan, then called “free China,” faced off in the final qualifying round after passing the first and second rounds. The team won 2-0 at a home game in Seoul on Aug. 26, but faced a problem ahead of an away game in Taipei on Sept. 2. Due to poor finances of the Korea Football Association, the team flew on a Korean Air (KNA) plane, its national flag carrier, on credit. The team has decided to pay back the plane fare with profits from the friendly matches. In the second round, Korea defeated Taiwan 2-1 to advance to the Asian Cup finals for the first time in Korea’s Asian Cup history.
Four teams from Korea, Hong Kong, Israel and Vietnam took part in the finals held in Hong Kong in September that year. After leaving Taiwan, the Korean team managed to arrive in Hong Kong early in the morning on the day of the game on Sept. 6. After unpacking their bags, taking a break, they went to the stadium. Korea gave up two goals in the beginning, but recovered two to tie the game 2-2. The draw with Hong Kong, which was once a strong team by running a professional league at the time, gave a big boost to its win. In the second round, Korea beat Israel (then affiliated with the Asian Football Confederation) 2-1 and Vietnam 5-3, becoming the first winner with two wins, one draw and five points.
The first Asian Cup trophy, which had many twists and turns, became a national registered cultural asset (No. 493) in 2012. What is peculiar is that it is not a large-scale trophy that was lifted by actual players at the event. The Asian Football Confederation did not award a trophy to an early winner including the first event. Instead, a small winning cup made of silver (銀) was made and handed out to players. The trophy has been designated as a cultural asset and is currently stored at the Korea Sports Museum of the Korean Sports Association.
Korea, which became the first champion, built the Hyochang Stadium in Seoul to host the second Asian Cup. When the bid to host the event was confirmed in June 1959, then President Rhee Syng-man ordered the construction of a soccer stadium in Hyochang Park. On October 12, 1960, just before the competition was held, the Hyochang Stadium was completed, but President Lee, who stepped down due to the April 19 Revolution, could not attend the Gyeongpyeong OB Exhibition to commemorate the opening.
Korea’s first Asian Cup was held as the opening ceremony of the fourth Asian Cup president Yoon Bo-sun. The four countries that participated in the finals were Korea, Israel, Taiwan and Vietnam. Korea has achieved two consecutive victories through three games amid performances by Cho Yoon-ok (four goals) who was dubbed “the magician of dribbles” and Woo Sang-kwon (two goals) who was nicknamed “the heart of steel.” 헤라카지노주소
Hyochang Stadium, which accommodates about 20,000 people, attracted more than 100,000 people to watch the opening game between Korea and Vietnam. Korea defeated Vietnam 5 to 1, as spectators who were pushed out of the stands came down to the stadium to watch. Korea defeated Israel 3 to 0 in the second round and Taiwan 1-0 in the third round.